What We Do
Research Director, Ten-Year Forecast
Tessa works primarily at the intersection of civic engagement, futures thinking, and social change. Her research focuses on prototyping and implementing new systems-level approaches to building sustainable and equitable livelihoods.
Tessa believes that we are facing new cultural systems that make sustainable and equitable livelihoods possible, if we stay focused on a common goal. New ways to organize ourselves, gather and exchange information, and new immigration patterns are creating unseen levels of diversity and distributed power that could open up new opportunities for equitable and sustainable livelihoods. At the same time, new bottom-up campaigning and qualitative approaches to international and community development efforts are building pathways towards sustainable social change initiatives.
Tessa is currently spearheading two new initiatives, the Restorative Justice City and the Peace Lab.
The Restorative Justice City combines research on the future of crime, prisons, inequality, and cities to look at systems-wide interventions to improve public safety and the criminal justice system. The RJ City asks, if we looked at crime and public safety though the lens of restorative rather than punitive measures, how will that change the entire ecosystem of criminal justice?
The Peace Lab is merging the futures and peacebuilding worlds. With a participatory futures model we use an inside-out process for facilitating dialogue, discovery, and unity. The root of the methodology is based on the finding that external parties are rarely, if ever, able to assess the complexity of other communities and develop the right interventions for sustainable peace and social change. Early sponsors include UNDP Sudan and Interpeace.
Tessa was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya, and holds a BA in anthropology from UC Santa Cruz and an MA in international political economy and development from Fordham University.
Making the Future
“As the old adage goes, ‘the journey is more important than the destination.’ The participatory foresight can go a long way toward building a more equitable and peaceful world. Foresight can elicit nuanced perspectives on a particular dilemma, build a common language around a shared future, and help us to feel in control of our own futures. Participatory foresight should be a regular tool for all social change movements.”